A Filmic Map … discussions of Cinéma Vérité

A Filmic Map

[Discussions of Cinéma Vérité (A-Minor Press, 2013)]


In writing, my tendency has always been to work in sets, suites, or groups. Ideas in my head swirl in groups. I never see one; I’m always looking beyond the one. Two reasons: a decade immersed in the poetry of T.S. Eliot – “The Hollow Men,” The Waste Land and, in particular, Four Quartets – as well as the first time I watched rashomon-storiesAkira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, a film that has left its imprint of form and story in me. Kurosawa once said something to the effect of drama should always be viewed in threes. The premise of Rashomon is recognized in threes. The purpose, apparently, is a certain tension that is created, sustaining the work and the connection between story and viewer. That makes perfect sense.

A poem – a small suite – I once brought to a writers’ group (small band of three) bore the name “Cinéma Vérité,” and carried the theme of personal politics, having nothing to do with cinema – though the title, of course, originated with French New Wave film. As I recall, I successfully finished two of the set, and they were published separately. The title stayed in my head. The ms of poems has had several titles (A Glass That Falls and Lost fo-jeanne_dielman-608Connections, Hidden Intentions … are two that come to mind) before settling on Cinéma Vérité – the title poem, connected to Chantel Akerman, herself a product of French New Wave filmmaking, and her great work Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975).

My work in the poetic project “Tales of Brave Ulysses” – ekphrastic writing – consuming years of writing and thinking, eventually found or created (I’m sure which is true) the need to focus on films. The poems, which began to grow, became a large mass, without clear direction or center – a bit out of control. Considering Rashomon, or more correctly, Kurosawa as the center point – I began to understand the poems in groups of three. This led to organizing the ms into three major sections: The Way the Story Begins, Spaces Between the Words, and A Scribbling on the Walls – each of the titles coming from poems connected to the French New Wave … respectively, “Games of Persuasion” [L’année dernière à Marienbad (1961 ), Alain Resnais, dir.], “False Windows” [Ma Nuit chez Maud (1969) Eric Rohmer, dir.], Cinéma Vérité Front Cover 2and “A Scribbling on the Walls” [La Jetée (1962), Chris Marker, dir.]. Each section was comprised of fifteen poems – but the form and, more importantly, the “story” each section carried – seemed too static, so I added a poem to section three, with the slightest of altered ordering. This addition gave, at least to my mind, a real balance to the ms as a whole.

~ by samofthetenthousandthings on January 2, 2014.

2 Responses to “A Filmic Map … discussions of Cinéma Vérité

  1. I love this, I do the same thing!

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